Strong performances by Mexico, the China/Hong Kong region and Central/South America boosted pork exports by 8.5% in volume in July to 178,794 metric tons valued at $502.6 million, a 7.5% increase over 2012, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).  Through July, pork exports were down 5% in volume and value, at 1.23 million metric tons and $3.44 billion. Excluding Russia, which has been closed to U.S. pork and beef since February, exports were down just 1% from last year’s record pace. 

Pork Growth in Spite of Challenges

Pork exports in July were paced by the continued rebound of the Mexican market, strong variety meat demand in the China/Hong Kong region and rapid growth in both Central/South America (led by Colombia) and the ASEAN region (led by the Philippines). The 8.5% volume and 7.5% value increases in July were tempered by continued access issues in Russia and heavy competition in Japan.

“We are encouraged by the positive response to USMEF’s retail pork imaging campaign in Mexico, which is in direct correlation to sales growth there,” said Seng. “On the other hand, Japan is the highest-value pork market in the world, and we are facing intensified competition. We are one of 25 countries exporting pork to Japan, and while the U.S. industry has deemphasized the priority of our promotional programs in Japan, our competitors are very aggressively working to take our market share. As a result, our share of Japan’s pork import market is down 3% so far this year.” 

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Year-to-date, Japan’s total pork imports from all sources are down 3% to 548,608 metric tons, but imports from the U.S. are down 7% (245,938 metric tons). At the same time, exports from four leading competitors (Mexico, Chile, Spain and Poland) are up by double digits for the year. 

Top-performing pork export markets include:

·       Mexico: up 21% in volume (55,567 metric tons) and 29% in value ($114.3 million) in July, and up 2% in volume (346,368 metric tons) and 3% in value ($645 million) over the record pace of 2012.

·       Central/South America: up 49% in volume (9,437 metric tons) and 48% in value ($23 million) in July, and up 36% in volume (62,774 metric tons) and 34% in value ($156.3 million) for the year.

·       ASEAN: up 60% in volume (6,407 metric tons) and 53.8% in value ($14.4 million) in July, and up 44% in volume (38,079 metric tons) and 36% in value ($91.6 million) for the year.


U.S. pork exports in July accounted for 22% of muscle cut and 27% of pork and variety meat production, similar to last year (23 and 26.5% respectively) with a per-head export value of $55.35, down from last year’s $56.04 total. 

Beef Sales

Beef sales set new highs for the year, while lamb exports slowed slightly for the month but remain up for the year. Double-digit increases to the top three markets (Japan, Mexico and Canada) helped U.S. beef exports jump 9% in volume in July to 118,913 metric tons valued at $622.8 million, a 21% increase over last year. For the year, beef exports are up a fraction in volume (661,473 metric tons) and 9% in value to $3.45 billion. 

Lamb exports dipped a modest 3.2% in July on 15.7% lower volumes, but remain up by double digits for the year. 

Complete exports results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available online

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